My laptop can't produce sound clearly
February 10, 2005 10:43 PM   Subscribe

My laptop can't produce sound clearly, but last night it could. I know next to nothing about computers. What's with this?
posted by saysthis to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Are you using a mac or pc? If a pc, go to the control panel and click on the sound icon. Sometimes various programs/files will turn off or turn down the master sound, don't know why.
posted by zardoz at 10:49 PM on February 10, 2005

Response by poster: This morning, I went to play something in winamp, and what came out of my laptop speakers sounded more like farting than music. I thought it was just the speakers, but sound coming out of the headphone jack does it too. Sound is really muddled and barely audible. It's a year-old Dell Inspiron 5150, I think the sound card is integrated, the drivers are SigmaTel. I tried system restore and reinstalled the device drivers, windows help was useless, and I didn't find any obvious indicators of problems in the windows devices thingy. Frustrated restarts were ineffective. Last night I did a virus check and had to delete some files (I think the virus was called b-wukill or something, I don't know where to find the registry), and I also installed the latest free version of DeepBurner last night, but that was before the problem started. Googling gets me reviews of unrelated computers. ???????? Weird, huh? Anybody know what's up with this?
posted by saysthis at 10:55 PM on February 10, 2005

Response by poster: And zardoz, if only it could be that simple.
posted by saysthis at 11:00 PM on February 10, 2005

Are you using XP? Can you go back to a previous point using System Restore? It's a possibility if nothing else works.

Have you tried booting up in safe mode?
posted by gramcracker at 11:31 PM on February 10, 2005

well, you said you know next to nothing....I thought maybe you're on my grandma's level.

Sounds to me that you deleted something critical when you deleted those files. Might try going to your motherboard/soundcard's site and reinstalling the most up to date drivers. Can't hurt.
posted by zardoz at 11:37 PM on February 10, 2005

Response by poster: My laptop just overheated and turned off, and when I turned it back on, the speakers worked fine. Everything is fine now, I guess. Sorry for the false alarm.
posted by saysthis at 11:39 PM on February 10, 2005

Please backup frequently.
posted by rdr at 12:49 AM on February 11, 2005

saysthis, your laptop overheating and shutting off is obviously not a good sign. Does it have a CD-Burner? For your sake, steal a copy of Nero Burning Rom and buy a platter of high quality blank CDs. Heat damage affects:

1. Battery life (greatly as Lithium Ion is prone to heat damage)
2. Hard disk life
3. Screen life
posted by Dean Keaton at 12:55 AM on February 11, 2005

Unless you can afford Nero then buy it.
posted by Dean Keaton at 12:56 AM on February 11, 2005

Best answer: I have similar problems with a Dell Inspiron 9100. First of all, blow out your fan[s] often to help with the overheating issue. If your sound drivers mess up again, shut down, pull out the battery, and restart without it. I know this sounds crazy, but it works. I went nearly mad without sound and finally got help from Dell. I was told this action resets things on their laptops. Go figure!

I'm also finding out, or at least thinking all my troubles began with anything Real related. I won't use Real Player, so I tried Real Alternative, but have found it seems to be the reason my sound drivers get corrupted, or whatever's happening in there. Good luck.
posted by LouReedsSon at 3:44 AM on February 11, 2005

My wife had similar problems with her first laptop (a celeron-based clone). It would get hotter and hotter and then just turn off. Worse still, the computer would not allow itself to restart for hours, and when it finally did, we'd often get that "farting" sound from the speakers you describe.

Unfortunately I don't have a fix for you. After three trips to have it repaired, we had the computer replaced under warranty (got an iBook). If it's only a year old, you should be entitled to the same.

rant> Pentium-4 / Celeron processors run FAR too hot (for both the performance reasons described above, and for health reasons), and I think it's criminal that manufacturers extract a premium for laptops built with them.
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:22 AM on February 11, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for helping, everybody. :)

For the record, I think I may have painted myself a little too ignorant. I was using DeepBurner because nero won't allow you to burn different video formats to a CD and was having trouble coercing my external DVD burner to burn DVD's. DeepBurner isn't though not as fully-featured as Nero but it does everything I need for archiving, and it's free. Besides, Nero is evil and corporate. I feel so much more leet when I use unknown software. Blowing out the fan... I gotta do that. I've felt guilty about not doing it before. Real just sucks and some of that rubs off on Alternative. And as for heat damage, this thing has a P4 desktop chip, so it gets hot. But if there was a well-placed fan, I think it wouldn't be such a problem. They put the main fan outlet on the bottom. It's about 1/2 inch in from the side and 1 1/2 from the back on the right. If you set it down on a blanket and leave it to do something processor intensive it will overheat after about half an hour, but if you leave the corner with the fan free, or put a book under the back end, it doesn't. Once you get used to the idea that the back right corner can't ever touch a hard surface, the only thing that'll slow it down is virus checking and encoding movies at the same time. It's been this way since I bought it, and I've heard other people complain about the same thing.
posted by saysthis at 6:38 AM on February 11, 2005

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